Speak of the Devil

"I'm not saying that 90 percent of kids who listen to heavy metal must turn into devil worshipers for it to be a problem. If five percent go out and kill people as the result of a song, there's a problem," Raschke says. "That's the typical `blame society' argument, which is worthless intellectually as far as I'm concerned. I'm troubled by the lack of real intellectual depth from these answers. They just appeal to stereotypes and caricatures.

"If it were the case that we only had a few isolated cases of people who had listened to heavy metal and done weird things, that would be one thing. But we have a lot of cases where crimes have been committed or where vandalism or desecration used the actual messages of these songs. I'd compare it to product liability. During the Ford Pinto controversy, for example, 25 Pintos had defective gas tanks and they blew up. The Ford Motor Company said, `We're not responsible,' but the American consumer said, `Yes, you are,' because there were defects that led to destructive social consequences in a significant number of cases. I think the music industry should be held accountable in the same way that the Ford Motor Company was held for those gas tanks."

Banning metal and sterilizing metal musicians, however, is not what Raschke proposes.

"I'm not saying that a company should be legally liable, but I think industry has a responsibility to the consumer, whether it be the automobile, clothing, or music industry, and if there have been noxious effects on a significant number of people, then you need to take that into account," he says, then adds, "I'm not for censorship, but I think the industry ought to have a recall now and then."

Kenneth Lanning could say the same thing about the publishing business. An FBI special agent stationed at Quantico, Virginia, Lanning is subjected to perhaps the most blistering treatment meted out by Raschke, and he's clearly unaccustomed to such attacks. After all, he is one of the bureau's top theorists, and his work on such reports as "Child Sex Rings: A Behavioral Analysis," copyrighted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, recently earned him the Jefferson Award for research from the University of Virginia. But Raschke, in a scorching critique of another Lanning paper, "Satanic, Occult, Ritualistic Crime: A Law Enforcement Perspective," goes after the agent like a hellhound after human flesh.

Raschke writes that Lanning "has endeavored to discredit virtually anyone inside or outside of law enforcement who thinks ritual crime in America might somehow be a problem." This is followed by an account comparing Lanning to a DEA agent jetting around the country screeching that concern about cocaine abuse is an infringement of Colombian drug traffickers' right to privacy. Raschke then offers this review of the ritualistic crime paper: "[It displays] the literacy, the research sophistication, and the rhetorical finesse of a high school sophomore."

In person Raschke is no more gentle to Lanning, who had the temerity to air his grievances in the New York Press. "Ken Lanning doesn't refute anything I said," Raschke says. "I would like to see a real argument. What he does is a form of pseudoargument or sophistry. I've coined my own term: switch-and-bait. He'll say, for example, that Raschke doesn't present any evidence and then he'll cite a case, some loony case like the one in Albuquerque, New Mexico [in March, Albuquerque officials mistook a "terf ball" diamond for the grounds of "mysterious" occult activities] that I didn't treat in my book. Now this is an obvious case of where something is mistaken for Satanism, so in other words, he'll use a polemical argument to bait my case with something that I didn't say or didn't even mention. [He] should either refute my argument point by point like lawyers do in court or shut up."

Lanning is not shutting up - but he is getting more careful. During our more-than-90-minute telephone interview, an FBI public relations representative remained on the line, monitoring every word. Those words are damning. Lanning questions everything from Raschke's fact-checking (Painted Black incorrectly states where Lanning's paper originally appeared) to his academic objectivity. About the latter he references a September 1989 case involving a woman in Portland, Maine, who claimed she had been abducted in an occult kidnapping. Raschke spends nine lines describing the woman's claims, then notes that her story was later discounted. In actuality, Lanning says, the incident was a hoax - a 27-year-old woman with mental problems, pretending to be a teen-age deaf girl abused by Satanists. While Raschke does note the outcome of the case, Lanning points out that he devotes the vast majority of the allotted space to the woman's deranged fiction.

Raschke's use of language is another problem area, according to Lanning. "One of the major points in my article has to do with the definition of terminology," he says, and his eleven-page paper bears this out. More than half is concerned with distinctions between the terms satanic, occult, and ritualistic. Lanning says these represent different kinds of crime; he thinks Raschke mixes them up. "He can call it switch-and-bait or whatever, but he interchanges the terms. That's when he quotes me out of context."

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